UTV Maintenance: Get Your Side-By-Side Ready for Planting Food Plots

Getting a good strong side-by-side for work around the hunting property is great, but making sure it will last is the key to a happy season. Using plowing and seeding implements behind your UTV will help you turn out spring food plots, but it will also put strain on your machine. Here are some things to keep in mind before you get planting.

1. CVT or Clutch Awareness: Many of today's UTV's have belt drives and it's important to have them properly maintained. Due to the strenuous activity of dragging a heavy plow or harrow behind your side-by-side, it's wise to ensure your machine engages at the correct RPM. You must also adjust the tension on some belts, so getting a factory service manual is a must. EPI (Erlandson Performance) is a great contact with years of expertise in setting up your CVT for hard work.

2. Tire Pressure: Overlooking this small detail will create a zero-traction situation. If you are loading the rear of the machine heavily, be sure to check the tire pressure to ensure the correct amount of the tire tread is making contact with the ground. (See my tire pressure post here).

3. Tire Choice: Traction is key when hauling heavy implements and a tire with a center-weighted tread can loose traction. A tire with a flatter profile (but not necessarily totally flat) will grip the ground better for forward motion. Having a tire with lugs that are spread apart will allow quick cleanout if you get into mud.

4. Radiator: Your machine will run hotter while working harder. Make sure the coolant is full and clean. It never hurts to drain and change the coolant in a hard working machine every two years.

5. Cooling Fan: Keep the wiring free of chafing and in proper working order. Check that the fan mounted on your radiator is working. The easiest way to do this is by simply letting the machine warm up while sitting still at idle.

6. Oil Level and Life: Changing the oil in your machine is crucial, especially if you work the machine hard in warm weather. Some choose to run a thicker oil in the summer to provide better viscosity and a thinner oil in the winter months for a better lubricity in the cold.

Photo courtesy of Yamaha